Will Clevinger, Lamet be ready for Game 1?

Tatis Jr., Sr. in bubble; Padres, Dodgers share road hotel

October 6th, 2020

A day before Game 1 of the National League Division Series, the Padres still aren't certain whether they’ll have their two best starting pitchers available to face the Dodgers.

They're planning to take those decisions "to the wire," manager Jayce Tingler said.

Right-handers (right elbow impingement) and (right biceps tightness) have spent the past two weeks working their way back from injury. They were left off the roster for the NL Wild Card Series against St. Louis but remain in play for the NLDS, Tingler said.

The Padres don't expect a final decision until Tuesday morning. Rosters must be submitted by 10 a.m. PT Tuesday.

"Both guys had very good days [Sunday]," Tingler said. "We're hoping to stack some good days. ... But yesterday, we were really encouraged by the work that both guys put in. The test is: How do they respond the next day?"

On Sunday, Clevinger threw his second bullpen session since he sustained the injury.

"He felt good, but again, we've got to see how he responds," Tingler added.

That would seem to place Clevinger ahead of Lamet in his recovery. Lamet has been playing catch, but he's yet to take the mound for a bullpen session.

The Padres could certainly use their two aces, considering they might wind up playing five games in five days against the Dodgers -- one of baseball's best offenses.

Lamet posted a 2.09 ERA in 12 starts and finished his season on the fringe of the Cy Young Award conversation. He was excellent in two outings against Los Angeles, posting a 1.42 ERA.

Clevinger, meanwhile, has never faced the Dodgers. He notched a 2.84 ERA in four starts for the Padres after arriving from Cleveland at the Trade Deadline.

In their absence, the Padres turned to and in the first two games against St. Louis. The duo combined to allow eight runs over 4 2/3 innings.

After an excellent regular season -- and two strong outings against the Dodgers -- Davies will almost certainly be given another start. But Paddack, who started Game 1 of the Wild Card Series, remains a question mark.

The Padres have yet to name their NLDS Game 1 starter, and Tingler said he won't do so until Tuesday morning.

"The major determining factor will be just the overall health of our staff and where we're at," he said.

Davies, Paddack and potentially even Clevinger are options. But after three off-days, it's also possible the Padres opt for another bullpen game. They got scoreless ball from nine relief pitchers in Friday's series finale against the Cardinals.

Jr. and Sr. in the bubble
was 1 year old when his father took part in his only postseason -- a run to the 2000 NL Championship Series with the Cardinals. Twenty years later, the two are reuniting for another playoff run.

With family members permitted in the bubble, Tatis Jr. says he's thrilled to have his father along for the ride. Tatis Sr. spent 11 years in the big leagues and is a constant source of support for Tatis Jr. The two speak on the phone regularly, and Tatis Jr. credited his father for helping him break out of a late-September slump.

"It's great, just the fact that he's here with me, giving advice and just sharing the moment with me," Tatis Jr. said. "This is a special time for myself and my career. It's really great, and I'm just happy he's here."

Hotel California
One of the quirks of the bubble in Arlington is that the Padres and Dodgers are sharing a hotel.

They're NL West rivals, and things have gotten feisty when they've met on the field this season. But evidently, it's not so dramatic when they've met off it.

"You have your mask on, so it's not always super easy to tell who it is," said Padres right fielder . "You just say, 'Hey,' and just keep going. There's not really [many] conversations in it. Both sides feel the same way. We're here on a mission. We're here on a job. We're not here to socialize."

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